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Epistemic Virtues and the Deliberative Frame of Mind 1

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Believing is not much like premeditated intentional action, but neither is it completely reflexive. If we had no more control over believing than we have over our automatic reflexes, it would be hard to make sense of the idea of epistemic virtues. There is, after all, no excellence of the eye blink or the knee jerk. If there are epistemic virtues, then our degree of voluntary control over believing must lie somewhere between the extremes of what we experience with passive reflexes and intentional actions. Believing is not the only human activity that lies between these extremes. A number of behaviors and bodily processes do. Using some of these as a model, I will give an account of the nature of our voluntary control over believing and argue that it is necessary to ground the conviction that epistemic virtues do make sense.

Keywords: Belief; Doxastic Voluntarism; Virtue Epistemology

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2006

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